Famed PD Kim Jong Hak of Eyes of Dawn, Sandglass, and Faith Dies of a Suspected Suicide

I dread writing these posts, absolutely hate having to even devote time to write about something that should never have happened in the first place. Early this morning South Korea time, famed director Kim Jong Hak was found dead of an apparent suicide. Let that sink in because the first reaction is “what?” followed by “not again!” I don’t know what it is about South Korean culture that pushes its citizens to commit suicide, having the second highest suicide rate in the world after Greenland, a country North of the Arctic circle and its citizens subject to biologically documented season depression. But in South Korea its just the combination of pressure and shame that likely propels people to take the easy way out. And it is the easy way out, living through hard times is the harder thing to do. PD Kim Jong Hak was reportedly having a hard time facing a legal investigation of fraud stemming from his last drama production Faith, which apparently is still dealing with the fall out of having crew members still not paid. As viewers we watch an end product devoid of any understanding of what is basically a broken and corrupt drama filming system. Perhaps one day I will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to the pretty pictures and not acknowledge the pain and suffering of those toiling in the shadows to make it happen. PD Kim was being investigated for not paying his crew from Faith and allegedly embezzling money. He had been subject to a no-travel prohibition since the investigation began. He reportedly left behind a suicide note apologizing to his family, and the studio where he was found dead smelled of gas. The list of famous Korean entertainment folk who have killed themselves is so long I actually cringe to look at it. Recently was the 3rd anniversary of Park Yong Ha‘s death, and soon it will be the 5th anniversary of Choi Jin Shil‘s death while it has been 6 years already since Jung Da Bin killed herself. PD Kim leaves behind one of the most famous resumes in modern Korean drama lore – Eyes of Dawn (widely considered perhaps THE best K-drama of the last 20 years with Choi Jae Sang and Cha Si Ra), Sandglass (critically acclaimed and widely beloved with Go Hyun Jung and Lee Jung Jae), Daemang (launched the career of Jang Hyuk, Lee Yo Won, Son Ye Jin, and Jo Hyun Jae), The Legend (also known as The Story of the First King’s Four Gods), and his last completed drama will now forever be Faith. My condolences to his family and a sincere hope that those who feel hopeless and troubled will seek help first.


Famed PD Kim Jong Hak of Eyes of Dawn, Sandglass, and Faith Dies of a Suspected Suicide — 14 Comments

  1. This is so sad. My condolences to his family. I don’t even know what to say. It’s truly sad to read the list of ppl who have committed suicide. I echo your words Ms. Koala and hope that people seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, seek the help they need.

  2. Poor soul. Sad story for him and the crew members who will likely not get paid for their hard work.
    I had cried buckets and buckets of tears over Park Yong Hwa’s suicide and a pang still lingers in my heart to this day, especially at the mention of his name.
    To those contemplating suicide: you may FEEL like this is your only option but hold on, a tad more, one day at a time. It is worth it. YOU are worth it.

  3. Too sad! Many thanks for taking on the difficult task of letting us know this news. Condolences to his family and friends.

  4. It makes me wonder if there needs to be some re-evaluating for a society that pushes its people to suicide.
    Alot of people would tell them to suck it up or cry over their piles of money but we have no idea what goes on behind the scenes or what these people are going through. We can try to understand but no one fully does until they experience it too. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  5. This is really sad news indeed! Thank you still, for sharing the news with the readers of your blog. Kdramas and Korean entertainment are not only made of pretty images, pretty people and awesome OSTs. As you mentioned, there are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes that we are not always aware of, and they give me pause, when I see those kinds of headlines.
    My condolences to his family, really sad what happened…

  6. I think the public health system needs to address this because I think it is a grave public health concern. There needs to be a PSA about depression and suicide and have programs to prevent it. I enjoyed Faith and I hope that the crew gets paid somehow. Maybe the drama was insured?

  7. Oh, my, “not again” indeed. So sad.

    Joan Rivers said it best, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

  8. I am so sad to hear about it. All the times, I thought that this drama is the most wonderful and unforgotable drama I have ever seen. I really enjoy “Faith” so much and I like it so much. The crews staff and actors beautiful done it nicely until the end and happily to see all of them cooperation so well. PD Kim Jong Hak, you really a great director, not matter what in the tight budget, you had delivered a nice storyline drama, how could you take your life so easily? No matter what, everything had their ways to the solutions :- in your drama, “Faith” showed that Choi Young wanted to commit suicide but your advises :- the peoples who close or related to you are much painful than you are commit suicide but why can’t you consider it. I missed you a lot and condolences to your family.

  9. Sad news. Doesn’t say much for society when suicide appears to be the best option. My condolences to family and friends. May you find peace.

  10. Loved the Movie Faith..and several of the others.. when I see the movie credits and outtake clips now it will be sad.. I don’t know the financial issues with the pmts not recieved, but there must be too much pressure. If he did take the money, then why did he feel so much financial pressure? and if he didn’t take the money, why did the prosecution go after his so hard to crush his spirit? Creative People may be more sensitive to the Shame of Public humiliation, while normal People have same feelings but it usually isn’t in the public eye.

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